I’ve been reading the winning short stories of the Mogford Prize for food & drink writing and found myself especially drawn to Bait

It’s a story we all probably know, but we don’t discover this until the end. Instead, we are treated to a delightful description of a mother preparing a scrumptious meal. 

She starts her work at five in the morning, with a batch of biscuits. Then, as prepares a whole spread of delicious goodies — including a magnificent cake — we are given a look into her mind. 

What we find there is both chilling, yet enigmatic. 

While I finished the story with a sense that it was complete, I also felt like I wanted to know more. Not about what happens next, but about what happened before. 

I wanted to know more about this mother, this person, and how she came to be. 

This is why I still read fiction — it has a kind of power over me. It takes me over and sweeps me up into other worlds, into other lives. 

One question I find myself thinking about is this: does fiction need to be justified? 

Why all the articles about how reading fiction improves social skills? Does fiction really need to have some kind of real-world productive purpose for it to be valuable? 

Can’t it just be enjoyed?

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